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Competing with the lawnmower: Readaround @ Carolyn’s – 27 June 2018

It was a beautiful sunny evening when we headed for the Ayr Writers’ Readaround at Carolyn’s. It’s not often we see such good weather in Scotland so we headed for the garden to enjoy the warmth around our circle of friends.
Carolyn kicked off the evening reading a memoir on behalf of Yolanda. Poo Sticks was the title. This started off light-hearted about a friendly game. But as the story progressed, we realised that there was something much more sinister. It turns out the NHS poo sticks that came through the post, saved Yolanda’s life. We are pleased to say that she is recovering well in hospital but strongly advises us all not to ignore the bowel screening test when it arrives on our doorstep. We wish you a speedy recovery, Yolanda.
Martin swiftly followed on with his Highland Rhyming Children’s book – T-Bex’s Big Fight. Not the norm for Martin, he usually writes crime or non-fiction. He generated a few laughs with his dinosaurs and their Dino Aspiron. It was suggested that he should perhaps decide on the age group of his readers and adjust the language accordingly.
Marion and her children’s story, Francesco and Tomaso to the Rescue, took us on a trip to Italy where we met wild boars who roamed the streets looking for food. Interesting picture book which was well presented and with a clear message to listen to children no matter how ludicrous their stories may seem.
Nigel took us to Ben More on the Isle of Mull next. His descriptions of the sunset, the black and white oystercatchers and the way that he shielded the flame of his stove had us all wanting to climb alongside him. Graeme’s comment said it all, ‘A picture paints a thousand words, and Nigel’s thousand words painted a lovely picture.’ Of the 282 Munros in Scotland, Nigel has climbed them all but one which would explain the title, Ben More: and Then There Was One. Keep going Nigel, we’re all behind you, (way behind!)
Coming right after Nigel was Anne with her crime novel with a working title, A Proper Sinner. This is an investigation into a murder in the Southside of Glasgow. Ian Ogilvie is the Detective Inspector and Detective Steel, commonly known as Stainless, are both on the case. Why did the victim who led an uninteresting life keep a handgun? One of the questions in Anne’s story that had us all intrigued.
Matthew kept us guessing with his short story. Another working title, Dominate. This had us all chuckling. A nasal man, a bus, a conversation, a brothel and whips, what more do you need for a hilarious story? Nothing except a brilliant twist at the end which Matthew delivered well.
Eddie had quite a challenge to follow on from Matthew’s story. He read his poem, A Single Red Rose at Bergen Belsen, which was a grim reminder of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. He also read another poem, My Beautiful Butt, which was a funny recollection of his life’s desire to be an artist’s model and how ‘Old faither time was taking a pasting on him.’ We all enjoyed the humour in this one.
The sun was going down, the midges were coming out and the neighbour decided to cut his grass. We were too engrossed in the river of words and nothing could stop the flow. Maggie read from her children’s book, The day of the Grey Dragons. This is about two children whose mother is in hospital recovering from cancer. A lot of good imagery, rabbits falling down holes, earthquakes, bad dreams and dragons, what next? We’re all left hanging, desperate for the next instalment.
Graeme was next with a portion from his political thriller which also has a working title. Cacophony of Lies, is Graeme’s fourth novel in the series. He told us how his hero has become an assassin for the British Government. In this book, the Government minister’s daughter has been abducted. Blood, smashed lips, pain, dislocated shoulder and swollen testicles, and that’s just the prologue! Graeme had us all on the edge of our seats wanting to know more.
One more to go. Carolyn rounded off the evening with her cheery poem, Buying Bedding. Plants, tubs, fencing, ever greens or hanging baskets, some of the questions considered on what to buy for this year’s tranquil view. And what a lovely scene Carolyn had created for us in her back garden that night.
At 10.15 the evening came to a close. We were all suitably satiated with Nicola and Ken’s chocolate brownies and filled with enthusiasm to plod on with the arduous task of churning out our next master piece, one little sentence at a time. Keep on writing!
Gail

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